07 January

Believers Abbas Huseynov and Tale Bagirzade

Based on the Azadliq radio and Turan agency reports the well-known theologian Tale Bagirzade, sentenced to 20 years imprisonment in 2017, complained in the telephone conversation with his relatives about the pressure exerted by the Head of Gobustan prison Aftandil Agayev. The prison authorities were creating obstacles to the believer’s prayers, periodically restricting his telephone communication time with relatives, and tapping conversations with his lawyer during their meetings. But most importantly, he was constantly beaten up which was confirmed by his relatives who had noticed the torture traces on his body.

13 January

According to the Azadliq newspaper report the well-known theologian Tale Bagirzade, sentenced to 20 years imprisonment in 2017, informed his wife about the use of torture against believers in Gobustan prison. In particular, he was concerned that the other day the prison staff broke into the cell where there was Abbas Huseynov and subjected him to brutal beatings. Huseynov was also convicted for 20 years imprisonment. Then Abbas was taken in unknown direction. The day after Abbas Huseynov’s mother, Rahima Huseynova, provided some information concerning her son’s location. According to her words Abbas, after the brutal beatings, was taken from the Gobustan prison to the investigative isolator No. 1 in the village of Kyurdakhani. His lawyer, Fariz Namazli, was unable either to meet him or obtain any information. But he assumed that most likely the convicted Abbas Huseynov would be subjected to another criminal proceeding.

15 January

The first details concerning the situation of the activists of Muslim Unity Movement (MUM) are emerging: with reference to the imprisoned relatives, the Turan agency and Meydan TV it became known about the brutal torture of believers Tale Bagirzade, Abbas Huseynov and Jabbar Jabbarov. As a result, having been unable to withstand the torture Bagirzadeh inflicted bodily harm on himself. Jabbarov has been repeatedly beaten. Abbas Huseynov was dragged to the prison yard where he was crucified on a pole, the torture that had been practiced in the Middle Ages. Some hours later, Abbas was taken off and placed in a cell. Abbas’ mother, Rahima Huseynova, appealed to the Red Cross with a request to visit her son.

It also became known that a new criminal case against Abbas Huseynov and a number of those convicted in the “Nardaran case” was indeed initiated.

22 January

The pressure and repressions against Tale Bagirzade have been intensified. According to the Azadliq newspaper report the theologian hasn’t been allowed either to walk outside or take shower. The prison authorities put a mentally ill prisoner in his cell; that mentally ill inmate had previously tried to burn his cellmate in bed. Presently, he is showing aggression towards the theologian. Moreover, the prison authorities were to incite other prisoners to conflict with Tale, and then punished the theologian with closing him in the disciplinary cell. All his complaints are rejected. In a telephone conversation with relatives Tale Bagirzade said that if this campaign of repressions against him continued, he would start a hunger strike in protest.

27 January

The MUM released a statement that Tale Bagirzade, Abbas Huseynov and Jabbar Jabbarov had recently faced “unprecedented pressure”. In the MUM statement said: recently, they have been regularly subjected to verbal and physical abuse, deprived of “elementary rights”, and when trying to protest they “are subjected to torture” and placed in a disciplinary cell. If the pressure on the leader and other MUM members does not stop, they will start an indefinite hunger strike in prisons, it was underlined in the MUM’s statement. The imprisoned believers’ relatives added their own statement. Leyla Ismayilzade, the theologian Tale Bagirzade’s wife, told a correspondent of the Caucasus Knot agency: “Due to psychological pressure in early January, he inflicted bodily injury on himself. The other day we talked over the phone; this wound has been already healing but the authorities provocations are constantly repeated”.

Furthermore, Abbas Huseynov’s mother informed the Caucasus Knot correspondent that she spoke to her son for the last time on 12 January, when he was still in Gobustan prison. A few days later, “he was severely beaten; being injured and covered in blood, he was taken to Kyurdakhani (Baku pre-trial first detention center). We are not allowed to meet after he had been transferred to the pre-trial detention facility. They do not let him call. A lawyer was not allowed to see him either.”

28 January

A 35-year old Yunis Safarov arrested in connection to the case of assassination attempt on the Head of the Ganja city Elmar Valiyev, is subjected to brutal torture; he is not just beaten but also the electric current is regularly passed through his body. That information was published on Facebook page of the founder of  the Meydan TV, Emin Millie, who in his turn cited Safarov’s relatives. According to the Safarov’s sister, Lala Safarova, her brother is being tortured in order to get “the right evidence”. In particular, he has to admit that he acted as a member of armed group which planed some attack in advance. Yunis Safarov’s relatives are concerned about his fate and suspect that Safarov might be killed in prison.

29 January

As it is written in the Azadliq newspaper there are new tortures against convicted believer Abbas Huseynov. His mother was finally able to meet him, and she saw his body covered with previously non-existent numerous wounds. She paid particular attention to two new big bumps in the back of the head. His arm and body were covered with bloody wounds, and he could hardly breathe, “He was so often strangled and his neck was squeezed that for several days he had been having a hard time drinking water” Abbas Huseynov’s mother told the reporter. She added that they had repeatedly beaten up his legs so they were still swollen. During the brutal beatings the investigators constantly insulted Abbas calling him an Iranian spy.”

Further he was talking about psychological pressure and tortures and his appeal to stop a campaign of repressions against the believers.

31 January

Tale Bagirzade, the MUM leader, addressed to the public through the media that circulated his message. He appealed to human rights activists and international organizations to pay attention to the situation in Gobustan prison, “There is a humanitarian tragedy in the Gobustan prison. Do not remain indifferent”. According to the Meydan TV news, Tale Bagirzade pointed out that Jabbar Jabbarov had been recently tortured despite the fact that he is seriously ill. “And a man in such health conditions was severely beaten and then thrown into a punishment cell. He was beaten by the prison director, Aftandil Agayev.” Have been spending 15 days in disciplinary cell, his wounds have been still bleeding. Then, Bagirzade spoke of pressure exerted by the prison administration on him as well as the torture against Abbas Huseynov, and called for an end to this campaign of repression against believers.